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Valenthamp's Guide to the Known World

by Robert Laib.

Here's the beginning bit of my new project. A few things to please keep in mind though.

1. This is an incomplete rough draft. It's something I do while at work between phone calls. So sometimes the writing may be off or not sound right. Once I get the rough done (Per area), I'll try and re-work it.

2. I only have 3 supplements to go off of. TR main book, Sword and Shield, and Ravens Ruin. If anyone has corrections I need to make, please tell me ASAP so I can fix them. Especially if other supplements name townsfolk I'm thing I have to make up.

3. My initial place to set TR was in the mountains between Darokin and Karameikos. Hence why I may refer to Karameikos on occasion. Ultimately, I'll may go with where you all feel it fits. But that concern is for another time.

4. I've also taken the liberty of making some assumptions based on what I have so far read. Please comment on any of these before I go into more detail on em ^_^

5. Given that is has been ages since I'd stepped foot in Mystara and my supply of Gazetteers is few, am I correct in assuming that Norwold is something akin to a Viking culture?

Valenthamp's Guide to

The Known World
Book 1 - The Thunder Rift

Introduction By Valenthamp
Welcome one and all to Valenthamp's Guide to Mystara. I imagine that many of you have never heard of me and this comes as no surprise. Being new to this world of yours, I have yet to make a fine name for myself and ingratiate myself upon you, the populace. Though I imagine there may be a few people who are familiar with a certain cousin of mine (who shall remain nameless so as not to sully my own, soon-to-exist, good name) who has done this exact thing in my native world of Faerun. I would hope you would look past such short-comings and place more faith in me than my lineage normally would allow.
Hereditary problems aside, I am here today to begin our journey across the lands Mystara and show those who wish to see more where to go, what to see, and what to avoid!
We begin in a place known only as Thunder Rift, a wild and dangerous land located in the northern reaches of the country of Karameikos .

Ah Kleine!
Never have I been to a village so quiet and cosy that I would be so tempted to settle down and retire from this grand life of mine. And most likely, I'm sure my cousin would laugh if he heard such a statement from me. In fact, were it not for the wanderlust and curiosity of the world around us that my bloodline suffers from, I would have done just that, retiring to this quiet hamlet to live out the rest of my days.
The small village of Kleine is located in northernmost reaches of Thunder Rift, along Lake Ostrel. Being a small agricultural community, Kleine has little to offer adventurers in the way of large supply shops, smiths, and the like. It does have a small general store as well as an excellent leatherworker. Kleine is also not without its own charm. The village offers a nice quiet rest from the excitement and stress of travelling while still providing the more adventurous type with plenty to do.
Caravans regularly travelling down the river towards Torlynn and Melinir usually require guards to protect them form orc raiders and bandits. These caravans are always glad to see decent adventurers arrive in town for this reason alone. Those looking for such work can usually find it by speaking with the locale Wharfmaster, Kestrel Olen.

An Overall Look at Kleine
The faints booms of the Plunging Cataracts are usually what newcomers to Kleine recall first when conversations turn to the small hamlet. Despite its close proximity to the falls, the noise is quite faint, echoing more into the higher regions than across the lake. The shores along Lake Ostrel have been shorn up with larger rocks, mainly to prevent flooding in the spring months. The faint booms and lapping waves give Kleine a rather serene and tranquil feel.
As one approaches the village along the Drake River, the most noticeable sight is the large watch tower along the village' southern side. This tower is used primarily to warn the villagers of any incoming orc attacks and houses what there is of the local militia. According to the villagers, the tower itself was here when the first settlers came to this region. No one knows its origins or if it was part of a larger structure. It serves its purpose as the village's protector and that is all that matters to them.
While most structures in Kleine are built from wood, some of the older structures are stone worked buildings. A rare site in such a small village. The building of these stone homes was, in part, payment for Kleine's services in the shipping dwarven goods form Hearth-home to southern settlements along the Drake River.
One might think such stone structures to be quite chilly in the colder months. However, when the buildings were designed, they were built combining both dwarven and gnomish engineering. A heating system was incorporated into the buildings to allow heated water to travel throughout the building via a series of pipes. While this is an amazing marvel of dwarven/gnomish craftsmanship, the system within the remaining stone buildings is getting old and any sudden blows to the main water heater might set off a large explosion. Apparently, several buildings were lost due to this fault years ago.

While primarily an agricultural community, Kleine is also the hub of trade for the northern part of Thunder Rift. Many agricultural and leather goods are sent down the Drake River to places like Torlynn and Melinir while Kleine imports steel goods and other necessary items. Kleine still exports goods from the Dwarven settlement of Heart-home. However, with the sudden resurgence of the orc hoards in the Farolas Hills, the road between the two settlements has become a bit too dangerous and most caravans are unwilling to risk their necks for better profits.
Tis a shame really as many of the dwarven crafted items are quite exquisite. Their armour is top notch1 and many of their stoneworks are truly a sight to behold. On rare occasions, a well armed dwarven caravan will make its way to Kleine to sell off what goods they've produced. However, most caravans from Kleine never make the journey to Hearth-home as they are usually not as well protected. On occasion, as with the caravans that travel downriver, adventurers will be hired to escort a small wagon or two to the dwarven settlement to keep good relations.

1 Author's Note: Hearth-home is the only place in Thunder Rift to acquire any masterwork items. The Dwarves are usually on friendly terms with most races and are willing to take custom orders for items not normally made for dwarven hands.

There is one church located in Kleine dedicated to the Earth Mother, Terra. The church is tended to by Sister Remia, a former adventurer and one of the only powerful defenders of Kleine. A peaceful and accepting woman, Sister Remia tends to promote tolerance and acceptance of others in her sermons. However, despite her peaceful beliefs, she is not above defending her home and friends when a threat arises.

When it comes to festivities, Kleine holds very few as grand as The Festival of Talan; a celebration held in the spring to honour those who initially settled Kleine ages ago. While the celebration is primarily to honour of the leader of that expedition, Talan Amliir, folks from as far as Melinir make the trek up the Drake River to sell wares or just to enjoy the hospitality Kleine is known for. The festival usually sets up along the northern part of town, in the fields along Lake Ostrel, and is always a sea of vibrant colours from all sorts of merchant tents. Even the Dwarves of Hearth-home and the Elves of Gauntlin Forest visit the fair to sell wares and enjoy the good times (Though they tend to keep to opposite ends of the fair grounds).
The festival lasts for three days, after which, on the evening of the third day, Sister Remia performs a ritual to the Immortal Terra, thanking her for the bountiful times they have had and for continued peace and prosperity.

Places of Interest in Kleine.

Salias's General Store
This small store is the only supply store Kleine has to offer. The shop deals in only the basic of wares2, though the shopkeep Salias (A halfling of the Five Shires) is capable of placing orders for folk for equipment from Melinir of Torlynn. He is also the main contact and shipper of dwarven goods from Hearth-home.

2 Author's Note: Any equipment form the PHB except for alchemical equipment can usually be purchased here. Salias rarely has weapons and armour on hand though there's a 20% chance he might have something bought from a passer-by or left over from a recent dwarven caravan. If dwarven goods are present, they are to be considered masterwork items and the price will be increased by the standard 300gp as per the PHB.

The Melodious Harpy
The Harpy is one of the remaining buildings in Kleine built from dwarven stone, yet it lacks the heating system most other stone buildings are known for. The Harpy boasts a large taproom, that can usually fit most of the village proper, and a fireplace Oswald had built years ago. He claims that while a heated building would be nice to have, there's just something about a roaring fire that relaxes a person.
The décor of the tavern is simple yet tasteful. Oswald Dottier, a native of Norwold, has given the place a northerner touch with various thick tapestries and several stuffed animal heads he claims to have killed himself giving the taproom the overall feel of an old Norwold lodge. The only other part to this simple structure, save the cellar, is the kitchen which Oswald usually refuses to let non-employees into. He's proud of his culinary skills and claims many techniques he uses were secrets passed down through the Dottier line; secrets meant only for his eyes and his apprentice (should he ever take one).
The food at the Harpy is the real treat. Oswald's claims about his cooking talents are more than just boastful proclamations. His most famous dish is fish sautéed in a garlic basil sauce and flavoured with a spice he claims is found only in the north. One bite can warm even the coldest of people without being too spicy. It's a popular dish, especially in the wintertime when the cold winds blow in from the mountains. It's usually served with a side of similarly spiced potatoes and greens. Highly recommended and decently priced at 1 gold a plate.
As for beverages, Oswald keeps a hearty supply of ales and meads on tap in the cellar. Occasionally he might get something a bit lighter on the palette, but heavier brews is what he tends to serve (at 5 copper a piece)
All in all, the Harpy is a popular place for farmers and townsfolk to gather, especially in the winter months, and has even become the regular town hall for the village.

Things I still need to do for this entry:
1. Add more detail to the General Store's owner Salias.
2. Detail other townsfolk
3. Add details about the inn
4. Throw in other little details